A lot of people live by the mantra “I hate money”, while at the same time trying to earn it and create it. Does that sound healthy for people on either side of transactions? It’s unlikely that this mindset has created more abundance or a better experience for anyone, ever.
Many business owners never pick up a business book, even in the midst of running a business! A huge number of freelancers (especially) feel guilty about charging people money for their services, which means that they would especially feel bad about scoring a great business deal. This can potentially bring up a lot of feelings of being an impostor who doesnt really deserve any sort of material success.
These habits are not permanent – they can indeed change. One big catalyst for this change is when one begins offering services in which they really see the value and feel great about offering.
Another way to feel good about offering services without feeling guilty or resenting the transaction is in the fact that charging a fair price can actually help your customers. A free product, for example, may attract a lot of customers – simply because they want to collect the resource. However, once the resource has been collected they are also much less likely to actually use the product because they likely perceive it as less valuable. When a hefty charge comes along with a product or service, people who take the leap are making a commitment to both the vendor and themselves, through voting with their hard earned money.
One major pain point in terms of business is resenting advertisements and the constant infiltration of logos and messages into our everyday lives. In essence, this is the more advanced version of the primal need for attention – the same way that male peacocks advertise themselves to females. Advertising is in fact quite an advanced art form, and when seen and considered as such can be a masterful learning experience. Advertising can be used to sell cigarettes to minors at the same time that it can be used to sell healing treatments to the sick. Like money, advertising is not intrinsically good nor evil. It’s simply a tool that can be used for the good of few or the good of many.
For example, let’s look at Margaret – a personal assistant transitioning into becoming a professional artist. From her job at an advertising agency, she gleans powerful lessons on creating attractive content that sells. She learns that products targeted at a specific niche are much more likely to be adopted, as the demographic recognizes that the product designers are speaking directly to them. Translating this lesson into the art world, Margaret chooses to package her art with a handful of buyers in mind – hanging the art on an appropriately styled wall and taking photos in such a way as to visually speak directly to this targeted clientele – thereby serving their needs more fully than other artists and making a sale in the process.
Business helps us thrive, when we embrace it. For those in the arts, it can certainly be a scary transition to quantify one’s work. The truth is, business success is a direct gauge of how much value an artist is creating for society. It is an artist’s responsibility to educate their potential customers as to how to value their work (if it’s not innately obvious). Through creating compelling marketing materials, offering interviews to the media, and other forms of public engagement – an artist’s personality can become an integral part of the service that they are offering.
If business can be seen as a real time mirror of value creation, it can truly be a beautiful indication of who we are as a society. The overall marketplace is ever changing and represents an enormous opportunity for personal growth, as each of us are touched by business in many ways. Let’s take the opportunity to make our mark in the world, rather than shy away from it!
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Co-Founder/Program Director and Creativity Leadership Trainer at True Participation
Joshua is a filmmaker and artist creating new ways in which story and technology can be combined toward healing experiences for a better world. He enjoys public/comedic speaking as well as providing personal, business branding, and relationship coaching. More info can be found on his personal site.